Tablet ownership peaks as market saturates: study

Users still love tablets for video, but less so for audio and news.

After eight years of steady growth in the Canadian market, tablets may finally be reaching a “saturation point,” according to a new study from Media Technology Monitor.

According to the study, which surveyed 4,000 Anglophone Canadians, tablet ownership is highest among Gen Y (67%) and Gen X (64%), but is lower among Gen Z, who have grown up with smartphones whose capabilities match or surpass tablets. In terms of brand choice, Apple remains the top seller among Anglophones as two-thirds of tablet owners own an iPad. The Samsung Galaxy tablet is Apple’s biggest competition with nearly a quarter share of the market.

There is essentially nothing a tablet can’t do, but the report found owners are typically watching online video (57%), using social media (45%) or checking the weather (43%). Tablets are the second-most commonly used device to watch Netflix (second to internet-connected TV sets), with nearly one-quarter of owners using their device to access the OTT streamer.

There is a correlation of household income and tablet ownership, as well as family structure. With apps targeted specifically for kids, homes with children are more likely to own a tablet; kids between the ages of seven and 11 years old are the highest number of tablet users at 79%.

Amidst the rise of audio, two in five tablet owners are using their device to stream audio, however the majority prefer to use smartphones. And, as the popularity of smart speakers continues to grow, the report forecasts those increasing sales could make a further dent in the number of people using tablets for audio purposes.

Despite a tablet having a larger screen, the report found just three in seven owners use their device to read online news, favouring the more portable option of a smartphone.